Majority of Henry Ford Health System’s Workforce Complies with Vaccine Mandate

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Image credit: Elizabeth Garrett

Also, Michigan is riding a wave it wasn’t a year ago with 144 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 at Henry Ford, officials say.

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Henry Ford Health System officials say its vaccine mandate has been a success, with over 30,000 employees out of 33,000 vaccinated against COVID-19.  

Around 400 people voluntarily resigned following the implementation of the mandate, with another 1,900 qualifying for religious or medical exemptions. About 250 workers were denied religious exemptions. 

 “Anyone who leaves because of the vaccine requirement is being classified as a voluntary resignation. This means that should they have a change of heart down the road and become vaccinated, they can once again apply for jobs within Henry Ford.” —Bob Riney, Henry Ford Health System 

Bob Riney, president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer,  says technically no one has been fired.  

 “Anyone who leaves because of the vaccine requirement is being classified as a voluntary resignation. This means that should they have a change of heart down the road and become vaccinated, they can once again apply for jobs within Henry Ford,” he says.  

Riney says a panel determined whether the exemptions were valid.  

 “We put together a team that really represents a multidisciplinary and objective team that is very skilled in using national benchmarks about how religious exemptions have been handled to ensure that we’ve been very, very consistent,” he says. 

Hospitalizations More than Double What It Was a Year Ago 

Michigan’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 infections continues to trend slightly upward.   

HFHS officials say Michigan is riding a wave it wasn’t a year ago, with 144 people currently hospitalized with the disease, compared to 65 at this time in 2020.   

Nearly all the people hospitalized are not vaccinated. The statewide vaccination rate is about 63%

Dr. Adnan Munkarah, chief clinical officer with HFHS, says the hospital group has changed strategies when it comes to getting people to get the shots. The health system has worked over the past 10 months to make sure it is driving vaccination rates as high as possible, he says. 

We have closed all mass vaccination sites and we have converted our vaccination operations to be done within our primary care offices,” Munkarah says. “So the patient will be going to see their primary care physician and they will be able to get that vaccination there.”  

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Russ McNamara, Host, All Things Considered

Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He’s been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.

russmcnamara@wdet.org

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